Product Review: El Peto Gluten-free Italian Bread Mix for the Breadmachine

I recently discovered that El Peto factory, a company that claims to be the “Gluten-free specialists”, is less than a 10 minute drive from my house. Naturally I went to their factory outlet store (yes, the products ARE a LOT cheaper at this factory outlet compared to the same product in the grocery store) and I spent a hell of a lot of money.

el peto italian bread mix

One of the items I picked up was a big bag that contained 7 smaller bags of bread mix, enough to make 7 loaves in the bread machine. At the time I thought “All you have to do is add water? Great I’m game for doing less work!”. So, I took the bag home and immediately began to make a fresh loaf of bread. This is what came out of the machine :

el peto italian bread mix final product

Um. eww. The dough was gummy and heavy. Immediately I realized that the loaf of bread just did not rise. That was a waste of my money!

But being frugal, and having 6 bags of bread mix left I thought “What happens if you just add a tbsp of yeast to the mix?”. So, I proceeded to clean out my bread machine, and I started from scratch. This time I added 1 tbsp of bread machine yeast.

And voila! The result was a perfect moist and wonderful loaf of bread!

I’m not quite sure what happened with this mix. Perhaps they forgot to add yeast to the mix? Perhaps the bag was sitting too long at a high temperature (yeast doesn’t like that). Whatever the case may be, I did have trouble with this mix.

So in conclusion, El Peto Italian Bread Mix for Bread Machines is absolutely yummy! But only if you add your own yeast. Although I do like the taste of this loaf, I may not buy it again. Its a shame because I’ve had El Peto’s other products and they are fantabulous. Next time I won’t be lazy —¬† I’ll just make the bread from scratch!

Oh, and if you do live in Southern Ontario, the El Peto factory store is worth a drive to Cambridge — you can get flours and baking supplies there at exceptional prices. And they do have nice high quality flours. They also have gluten-free cereals, pasta sauces, pastas, pie shells, cookies, pizza crusts, lasagnas, sausages and more. Just stay away from the mixes.

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Pure oils for baking

I live in a city that is large enough to handle a few gourmet food stores where I can buy fancy gourmet ingredients. Unfortunately many people in this town like the small town cloistered outlook on life and things like ‘gourmet’ just haven’t sprung up anywhere. Well, not entirely true. There is one gourmet store in town, and they actually have a gluten-free section, but they don’t have what I want half of the time. They do a good job, but I usually have buy on-line or drive an hour into Toronto to get the speciality items. Perhaps I should stop reading blogs, websites and recipes produced by gourmet chefs? NEVER!

High quality pure orange, lemon, tangerine, anise etc. oils are not easy to find (at least around here). Extracts and flavourings? Sure, I can find those anywhere, but I’m hesitant as these are not always gluten-free and they definitely don’t taste as good as the real thing. By default pure oils are gluten-free. That’s why you pay the big bucks for them right? Well, that and the taste.

So, this morning I found a wonderful site to buy pure oils for baking. Actually I didn’t find the site, it was David Lebovitz who pointed me to the Boyajian citrus oils.

According to Boyajian “It takes approximately 220 oranges, 330 lemons or 400 limes to fill a 5 ounce bottle.” WOW! No wonder you pay a fair bit per bottle. Because of this you don’t need a huge amount of oil to flavour your food “As a general rule, use up to 1/2 teaspoon per cup of dry ingredients, plus 1/4 teaspoon per cup of liquid ingredients in any recipe. Start with less, you can always add more.” You can really stretch a 5oz bottle if you’re using less than a teaspoon per recipe. These bottles will last you years and years if you store them properly so they are not necessarily as expensive as they first appear.

I have already TRIED to order myself the mini citrus oil box ($9) with orange, lemon and lime oils and strawberry oil. Boyajian takes paypal for payment, so you don’t have to go digging through your wallet to find your credit cards.

Unfortunately it wouldn’t process anything because I’m not from the US. I do not understand why US stores will not ship out of country. I will pay for shipping! Really! I can understand not shipping to Austrailia or New Zealand — they do have a lot of customs laws, but Canada is just a hop skip and a jump away from the US and Canada doesn’t care if you want to send me citrus oil. Its not against custom regulations!

Its really sad because the Boyajian site also has a variety of other oils and vinegars which I would try one day.

Anyway, if you’re from the US and you’re looking for quality oils try out the Boyajian site. If you’re from another country¬† (like Canada) let me know where I can find quality oils for baking? Please?

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